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Tutoring Center Aims To Help Amid COVID

Closing The Gap

One of the classrooms in the Southern Tier Tutoring Center. P-J photo by Cameron Hurst

A conversation over the summer with her father over the effect of COVID-19 on students in school gave Carrie Yohe an idea.

“My dad and I talked about kids being behind and it’s not just about kids being behind right now, but kids being behind in future years,” she said. “When these young kids go to college, there’s going to be gaps and how can we help that?”

To help close those gaps, Yohe, a school administrator, along with her husband Jason pursued the creation and development of the Southern Tier Tutoring Center, located at 560 West Third Street.

“I’ve always been one that wants to try to reach every child so we thought this would be a great idea,” she said. “So my husband and I just took it upon ourselves to say, ‘Okay, let’s try this.'”

The center, located in Suite 10 of the West Gate Building in Jamestown, opened two weeks ago and employs five New York state certified tutors who can assist with curriculum for students in 1st through 12th grades.

Jason and Carrie Yohe developed the Southern Tier Tutoring Center to help aid students who might be falling behind due to COVID-19. P-J photo by Cameron Hurst

A student’s schedule will be matched to a tutor’s schedule for sessions that will mostly take place Monday through Thursday evenings from 4 to 9 p.m. and also Saturday mornings from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Prices vary depending on if families want to pursue individual or group sessions.

“As an educator I can see some of the things that are happening to the kids and it’s just really that facetime with kids and not having that hands on approach,” said Yohe. “For our tutoring, we’re going to offer face-to-face as well as Zoom, if some people more request the Zoom. We’re going to be able to have both. But it’s that one-to-one that I think that kids are going to benefit from and that they really need right now. Many schools have small class sizes, but we just can’t get to them.”

COVID-19 guidelines will be followed, she explained, and virtual sessions are also available.

“We’re feeling we can do a lot more one-on-one and we have five teachers that are certified New York state teachers and I think that’s what makes us different from other people,” she said. “We have our certified teachers here and they are all different grade levels and all different subject areas.”

Their teaching philosophies are also research based, she said.

“Our students don’t know how to study necessarily,” Yohe said. “We can memorize things, but actually be able to apply our knowledge is the key. We really want to get out and teach those skills. There’s a lot of research based on what we’re doing.”

Yohe said that the center hopes to offer ACT and SAT prep courses in the future as well as workshops for high school seniors preparing to send off their college applications.

“(College applications) are a new thing that is taking a lot more emphasis in going to college now,” she said. “I think that we can be a good provider for our community on that.”

“We want to be a service to help,” she added. “This is all going to be child-centered and focused and we’ll get a fun way to catch them up. I always say that if you don’t think your child is behind and that they’re not struggling, it’s not just tutoring that way. It’s also to assist those who are doing really well and maybe they want to get advanced placements.”

The Yohes credited Dan Hickman of the Small Business Development Center at Jamestown Community College for assisting them in their start-up process which began in July.

“They moved very quickly in getting through the LLC formation,” Hickman said. “For their first time starting a business, the amount of knowledge that both of them brought to the table is phenomenal. They made my job easy because all I said to them was, ‘I need this, this, and this’ and within days, I’d have what I needed and I can just turn around and get things back to them. I’m very excited for them. It’s a fantastic project and I’m glad that we get to be a part of it.”

“It’s definitely not a company you’re going to make a profit off of in a sense, but it’s all about helping kids,” Yohe added. “But I’m trying to help families too. I think parents, with everything going on right now, parents are struggling, kids are struggling. All of us are struggling to just help kids and we try to design it like a school so there’s things that are similar but it’s also free for different things and to be fun.”

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